The epidemiology of serious eye injuries from the United States Eye Injury Registry

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2000 Feb;238(2):153-7. doi: 10.1007/pl00007884.


Background: Trauma remains a major problem throughout the world. The prognosis of severe eye injuries is commonly bleak. This paper focuses on the epidemiology of eye trauma, the role of ocular epidemiology, and identification and reduction of risk factors.

Methods: An analysis of the first 8,952 patients reported with severe eye injuries, defined as those eye injuries resulting in permanent and significant (measurable and observable on routine eye examination) structural and/or functional changes to the eye, from the United States Eye Injury Registry as of 31 July 1998.

Results: The age of patients entered was from the 1st year of life to 103 years. Fifty-eight percent of those injured were less than 30 years of age. The male to female ratio was 4.6:1, reaching 7.4:1 in the fourth decade of life. Almost half of the injuries involved the retina, and 77% of the injured eyes required one or more surgical procedures, including a large proportion which have undergone vitreoretinal surgical procedures.

Conclusion: Injuries remain the most serious public health problem facing developed nations. Yet, a persistent inadequacy exists both in the standardized documentation of eye injuries and in their treatment. With appropriate surgical and medical intervention, a majority of the reported injured eyes recovered functional levels of visual acuity. It appears that glasses, including prescription glasses and even non-prescription sunglasses, can offer measurable protection which results in a lower incidence of severe eye injuries to those wearing glasses.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Eye Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Eye Injuries / prevention & control
  • Eye Injuries / surgery
  • Eye Protective Devices
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures / statistics & numerical data
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Visual Acuity